September the first.
Fall is now upon us. Not officially, I don't think, but in my mind, in my life, fall has finally begun.
For me it means grant applications are due, important rehearsals have begun, and marching band practice is well underway. Wait ... scratch that last part. Most importantly, though, it means the theatre season is about to go into top-gear. There will be shows to see, shows to love, shows to bitch about, and lots and lots to read. I'll be praying to find a few gems to hold in my head forever, and hoping I don't have too many nights of pure torture.
For the producer and artist in me, it'll be a flurry of days and nights of trying to get people together to make the impossible happen again and again and again. Our motto becomes "Your response to resistance will determine the success of all your future endeavors." (And yes, that's a bastardization of something Anne Bogart wrote.)
I'll be struggling to find the time to write the next show I've committed to write, while all the while telling myself and everyone involved that it really is almost done, the next draft is right around the corner, it just needs one more little thing.
I'll be turning to the same designers and technicians again and again, practically whimpering at their feet to get them once again to commit to way to much time for almost no money just for "the love of it."
I'll be holding my favorite actors as close to my chest as a favorite new band, proud to help them strut their stuff, but desperately worried that someone with more money and a bigger crowd will notice their talent and lure them away.
I'll be calling in everyone I know to volunteer to run box office a couple nights and begging them to tell their friends to tell their friends to tell their friends that this is the show to see.
I'll be trying to find the perfect cost/quantity ratio for posters, postcards, and flyers that, in my heart of hearts, I hardly believe make any difference, while still staring into the relentless abyss of arts marketing and trying to figure out why I can't get everyone to just look at our website. (Because I just KNOW that would make them want to see our stuff!)
And, of course, I'll be spending long nights staring at the ceiling trying to figure out how to balance the desire to help every wonderful playwright I come across with the balance to build an ensemble capable of producing stunning original works.
We'll spend a lot of time trying to decide if we should move or not. We'll spend even more time discussing what shows we should be doing in a year or more and I bet we'll spend even more time deciding if Evil Dead: The Musical would mean selling-out. (But relishing the fact that it would enable us to do a really big play about Iraq in an election year in the capital of the nation's most important battleground state.)
As usual, I begin the season with high-hopes. Oh, I just know these obscure but brilliant shows will sell well! This time we've hit the nail right on the head! This time we'll all get paid, at least a little bit! I've already been telling my wife, "This year we won't have to worry about the rent because the shows will pay for themselves." I've already begun recasting the show I thought was cast a year ago. I've already begun resenting the lack of affordable and available rehearsal space, and I've already begun listening to the various pitches and promises of new venues to come.
Thinking about it, I realize that every September carries these same thoughts, hopes, dreams, and dreads. I also know that every June brings the realization that we didn't quite meet our goals, that I'm not sure that not moving was the best choice, and that I'm not sure that the next year will really improve our lot or not.
BUT, this is the year it'll all be different. Right? This year we break the pattern, right? Viva 2007-8! RIGHT?!!?